Kuala Lumpur: Six of the 69 MiG-29 fighter planes of the Indian Air Force have been upgraded in Russia and the remaining jets will be upgraded in India, a Russian official has said.
The official from the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG made the comments at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2013 in Malaysia on Saturday, the closing day of the exhibition.
The official said the modernisation is carried out in two stages. At the first stage, six planes were flown to Russia, accompanied by an Indian project team, which will then teach specialists in India, Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported.
Three of the six planes have already gone back home. The other three are being upgraded at Nizhny Novgorod`s Sokol, which is part of MiG. They will be handed over to India before the end of the year, the official was quoted as saying.
At the second stage, the remaining 63 fighter planes will be upgraded in India by Indian specialists, the official said.
The modernisation programme was launched in 2009 in cooperation with India`s HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited).
The IAF has awarded the MiG corporation a USD 900 million contract to upgrade all of its 69 operational MiG-29s.
These upgrades include a new avionics kit, with the N-109 radar being replaced by a Phazatron Zhuk-M radar. The aircraft is also being equipped to enhance beyond-visual-range combat ability and for air-to-air refuelling to increase flying time.
The service life of the modernised aircraft has been extended to 40 years, Russian media reports had said.
In 2007, Russia gave HAL a license to manufacture 120 RD-33 series 3 turbojet engines for the upgrade.